Your End is not The End
Is it done? Is it over? My hands, yes, are bloody. But my soul, my soul. Is it now sufficiently sated?
I was a child of Latin America and the United States. Yet I was of neither. When I grew to age, I left for the jungles. Over the years, the ancestors of ruined cities and the spirits of the selva taught me much more than your Catholic soul could ever believe.
Then, Mother, you married that cultural anthropologist. An expert on the Masai, on New Guinea tribes, on the Maori. But he was always outside, looking in. He could never truly understand any culture that wasn't his. And when he married into a Latin family, he could not respect us. He—a great cultural imperialist like all his countrymen—had to force his new family to conform to his "American" ideals.
So he threw us, your two adult, unmarried sons, out of our home. He violated our culture.
I went deep into the temperate jungle of his land, planning my revenge. The first step was to take a sawed-off to my head and splatter my brains across the rough-hewn logs of that cabin. You mourned my eternal departure.
But you were wrong, Mother. For nothing ever dies. Life goes on.
Several years later, I made my next move. Your daughter, my sister. How tragic her death in that car accident, her head severed and lying in a carmine pool in the middle of an icy highway. How tragic her two children, now orphaned.
Another child of yours gone. Half of your children gone. You prayed to your god, your saints for this mysterious evil luck gripping you to end.
But what you did not realize, Mother, is that you were praying to the wrong god. You forsook the gods of your own jungle—the only ones who could help you.
I again waited patiently, from this other side. Then one beautiful summer day, when you and that man were on a rural highway, I waved my spirit hand. A semi-truck that should never have been on that road broadsided your car. Your husband died instantly, his decapitated head lying in your carmine-soaked lap.
Indeed, I had to make you suffer, make you suffer.
Your earthen eyes gleamed with the suffering. I basked in that cold light. Then you took the ultimate step to escape the curse, my curse. Your god, your saints were not answering your pleas. You were caught in my ever-more-suffocating grasp. You decided to die.
But you did not cheat me, Mother. For life never ends.
Now you can sit and watch from this other side how I shall continue to make you suffer. And no, your god, your saints cannot do anything against the powers the ancients of the ruins and the spirits of the selva taught me.
Now all that remain are my brother and one sister—and five generations of their children—to suffer the curse I placed upon you.
The Struggle of Hopes
I wanted to write your history.
Those hours we spent in the stacks of the library, shelving books while you wove tales of your jungle exploits. Without your telling it, I knew you learned much more from the ancestors of the ruins, from the spirits of the selva than you dared to reveal.
And I knew that you cursed your family with your suicide, in revenge for your stepfather not respecting the cultural norms of your Latin family. Yes, I also saw the irony of it. A great cultural anthropologist who could not respect the cultural differences of his new family.
With the death of your sister, with the death of your stepfather, I saw your curse. Your family living, suffering one tragedy after another.
Many years later, I heard your mother had died. I hoped her suffering had ended, that you had decided that you loved her more than your anger, than the rejection you suffered. I hoped you had finally ended your curse.
I decided to write a story of redemption. But your voice took control of my fingers upon this keyboard. Your words erased mine of reconciliation, and replaced them with your continuing rage. Your curse, you insist, will yet continue. You will make your mother's spirit yet suffer.
Is there hope your soul will ever be sated? Will you insist on continuing your damnation for this generation, and the next, and the next, to seven all told?
When will your soul rest? Can it now? Must you continue to suffer?
We each come into this world to do the work Spirit has given us to do in this lifetime, a Personal Legend to fulfill.
Most people never discover what their Personal Legend is. They get caught up in the trials and tribulations of daily life . . . or the fear of self-realization freezes them in their tracks.
The work Spirit has given me to do in this lifetime, is to use this creativity with which I was blessed. To educate, affirm, and inspire.
What was yours? Was it truly to be angry, commit suicide and sow tragedy in revenge?
If I take this story and rewrite it to what I originally envisioned, will I be violating your Personal Legend? Will I build a bridge of understanding? Will healing finally come to your family?
Will you extend your curse to me?
Do I let my fear keep me from fulfilling my Personal Legend? Or am I being egotistical, too confident in my own abilities—as I had been in other lives?
Your End is The End
It is done. It is over. My hands, yes, are bloody—and my soul, my soul—it is now sufficiently sated.
I was a child of Latin America and the United States. Yet I was of neither. When I grew to age, I left for the jungles. Over the years, the ancestors of ruined cities and the spirits of the selva taught me much.
You decided to marry a cultural anthropologist, Mother, an expert on the Masai, on New Guinea tribes, on the Maori. But he was always outside, looking in, unable to truly understand any of those cultures—nor the Latin family he married into. He forced his new family to conform to his "American" ideals. And he threw us, your two adult, unmarried sons, out of our home.
I went deep into the temperate jungle of his land, plotting my revenge. First I took a sawed-off to my head and splattered my brains across the rough-hewn logs of that cabin.
But, Mother, life goes on. Indeed, nothing ever dies.
Several years later, I made my next move. Your daughter, my sister—dead in a car accident, her head severed and lying in a carmine pool in the middle of an icy highway. Her two children now orphaned.
Another child of yours gone. Half of your children gone. You prayed to God and the saints for this mysterious evil luck gripping you to end. And I continued to ask the ancestors of the ruins, the spirits of the jungles to help me.
Patiently I waited on this other side before I again waved my spirit hand. Then one beautiful summer day, when you and that man were on a rural highway, a semi-truck that should never have been on that road broadsided your car. Your husband died instantly, his decapitated head lying in your carmine-soaked lap.
Yes, I wanted to make you suffer. Your earthen eyes gleamed with the suffering and I basked in that cold light.
They say revenge is the sweetest medicine. I discovered it wasn't true. It carves your soul out, filling it with a chill that sinks into eternity. There is no warmth. And that includes anger. I knew I had to end this. That cold light began to chill me to my deepest core.
Then you took the ultimate step to escape the curse, my curse. You decided to die. And I allowed you to. No longer could I make you suffer. You, the woman who brought me into that world—and who forced me to leave. I learned I must love you and to thank you.
Indeed, Mother, life goes on. Nothing ever dies. It can only transform itself. And we must will it so.
Lorraine Caputo's pieces appear in over 70 journals in Canada, the US and Latin America, such as Drumvoices Revue, Canadian Dimension and In Other Words (Mexico). Other publications are seven poetry chapbooks and four audio recordings, including Latina Nights / Noches Latinas (Dimby, 2000). She also pens travel pieces, with works appearing in the anthologies Drive: Women's True Stories from the Open Road (Seal Press, 2002) and Far Flung and Foreign (Lowestoft Chronicle Press, 2012). In March 2011, the Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada chose her work, "Snow Dreams," as the poem of the month. She has done more than 200 readings from Alaska to Patagonia. She continues journeying through the southern reaches of the hemisphere, listening to the voices of the pueblos and Earth.
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